Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Album Review: DEAD CROSS - Dead Cross

Dead Cross - Dead Cross


01. Seizure And Desist
02. Idiopathic
03. Obedience School
04. Shillelagh
05. Bela Lugosi's Dead (Bauhaus cover)
06. Divine Faith
07. Grave Slave
08. The Future Has Been Cancelled
09. Gag Reflex
10. Church Of The Motherfuckers


Dead Cross is one of ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo's many projects, and this one showcases his love of extreme Hardcore Punk. Dave's masterstroke was bringing Faith No More's Mike Patton on board as lead vocalist.

Mike's eclectic and dynamic vocal styles add so much character, melody and also utter insanity to this album, that what started off as genre specific has ended up as a unique piece of musical art.

After recently playing for Suicidal Tendencies and The Misfits, Dave Lombardo seems to be enjoying revisiting his Hardcore roots and unleashing some high velocity, old school influenced blasts of energy, which is fine by me. Dead Cross has injected new life into a stagnating scene, and no doubt has introduced a new generation to some of his influences, in the same way Slayer's Punk covers album Undisputed Attitude did back in 1996.

If you like Hardcore Punk, or just enjoy extreme music that's clearly 'a bit fucked in the head', Dead Cross is well worth checking out.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Album Review: MOTORHEAD - Under Cöver

Motörhead - Under Cöver

01. Breaking the Law (Judas Priest)
02. God Save the Queen (Sex Pistols)
03. Heroes (David Bowie)
04. Starstruck (Dio)
05. Cat Scratch Fever (Ted Nugent)
06. Jumpin' Jack Flash (The Rolling Stones)
07. Sympathy for the Devil (The Rolling Stones)
08. Hellraiser (Ozzy Osbourne)
09. Rockaway Beach (Ramones)
10. Shoot 'Em Down (Twisted Sister)
11. Whiplash (Metallica) 



There's nothing like the death of a beloved rock star to stimulate the business of shameless cash-ins. In fairness, Motörhead's back catalogue was being mercilessly exploited well before Lemmy's death, with compilation albums seemingly being released all the damn time. Maybe I'm just a cynical bastard, and the release of this record is a genuine tribute to one of the most important icons in Rock music? Make up your own mind on that one!

Under Cöver is a compilation of cover versions from throughout Motörhead's career. Most Motörhead die-hards will already have the majority of these, and the only previously unreleased track is a version of David Bowie's Heroes, which is not only a great rendition, but carries a new emotional dynamic due to both Lemmy and Bowie passing soon after this track was recorded. It's a wonderful song to end the story of Motörhead, and the music video is genuinely moving.

Naturally, the material on here is awesome, and Motörhead always knew how to tackle a great song and put their own stamp on it. My personal favourites are God Save The Queen, Heroes, Starstruck (which features Saxon's Biff Byford on lead vocals) and Hellraiser (which Lemmy co-wrote). The cover of Metallica's Whiplash is also great, but did anyone else notice that Motörhead's version of Enter Sandman has been omitted from this collection? That's a real shame.

Under Cöver is a great collection of songs and is definitely worth picking up if you don't already own the majority of the tracks on other releases.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Movie Review: THE TOYMAKER (2017)

The Toymaker 2017


The Toymaker (AKA Robert and the Toymaker in the USA) is a low budget Horror film that's the third instalment of the killer puppet 'Robert' franchise. I saw the first movie, simply entitled Robert, and while it was a valient effort in the world of microbudget filmmaking, it wasn't exactly something I'd watch again. So, why am I watching this one?

I recently met actor Nathan Head on the set of the upcoming slasher movie Clownface, and I found out that he had a role as a Nazi in The Toymaker. Being the ever supportive chap I am, I picked up the DVD when it was released a couple of weeks ago, for the mega-cheap price of £7 in Tesco.

From the packaging and the synopsis, the film looks like a cheap knock off of the classic and utterly brilliant film, The Puppet Master. Nazis, killer dolls, a tag-line on the DVD cover reading "There's a new Puppet Master in town", why would I not make this assumption? I can only think it was marketed this way to get all of the Puppet Master fans out there to take a punt on this, and stick it in their supermarket trolley alongside grown-up, boring things like actual food.

To my surprise, The Toymaker is very different to The Puppet Master, both in story and general tone. The movie begins with a man fleeing from the Nazis. He has a book he needs to keep away from them, and eventually this book ends up in the hands of a toymaker who eventually uses it to bring some butt-ugly dolls to life. As you do.

The acting throughout the movie is excellent, and the tension during some of the scenes with the Nazis is nail biting. The serious tone of the movie gives it a darkness and cruelty that's quite unsettling in places, and this is compounded with some wonderfully sinister dialogue from the 'evil as fuck' Colonel Ludolf Von Alvensleben, played by the incredibly talented Erick Hayden.

As expected, the killer dolls don't get much screen time. They are clearly moved by a puppeteer, and the 'less is more' approach, along with some clever lighting and camera angles helps them to remain a little scary. There was obviously no budget to digitally animate them, and if the budget is smaller than what Chucky would get, it'd probably have looked crap anyway, so the old school approach was a good call.

The Toymaker himself, played by Lee Bane, was well portrayed, but his make-up was a bit shit to say the least. The bald cap, fake hair and 'old man make-up' wasn't up to scratch for a movie like this, and detracted from Lee's acting skills as it broke my suspension of disbelief. In the days of VHS, make-up artists could get away with all kinds of things, but these modern ultra HD cameras show no mercy.

Aside from that bugbear, I really enjoyed the movie. It was overall entertaining, and infinitely better than I expected it would be. The Toymaker is both a triumph and an inspiration for independent Horror film making.

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